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HCC finds next foe in mirror

March 18, 1999|By BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

Coach Marlys Palmer and the Hagerstown Community College women's basketball team watched anxiously to get a look at the team they would play in their opening game in the NJCAA Division II championships.

They had never seen them before.

They expected something different.

What they saw might as well have been a mirror image of themselves.

The Mott Bears (23-11) used a balanced attack and solid defense to upset North Central Missouri 71-52 and advance to the second round, where they face the Hawks (28-6) at 6:30 tonight at the HCC athletic complex.

"They are quite similar to us in many respects," Marlys Palmer said."They play good, tenacious defense and they rely on solid fundamentals."

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Those facts could be pulled right out of HCC's 1998-99 yearbook. The Hawks used a smothering defense and balanced offense in winning the state and region titles in the same season for the first time under Palmer.

But nothing came easy for HCC, as it had to overcome injuries and illness to end up in the national tournament. Strangely, the Bears have followed the same story line.

Mott coach Wray Cannaday also knows that his team isn't a one- or two-player system, either.

"We depend on eight players to get it done," Cannaday said. "We are not a team of all-stars. We have to play solid defense and spread the offense around."

The Bears do smooth out the offense. In their game against the Pirates, Abby Hunjo scored 20 points, with Monisa McGee (19) and Michelle Season (13) right behind.

"That is why we are here, because we play as a team." Cannaday said. "We are by far not the best team here, but we will see."

"They look like a good shooting team," HCC point guard Judy Zimmerman said. "We are going to have to come out with everyone in their 'A' game."

"I just want them to play well, like I know they can play," Palmer said. "We need to stay focused and turn things up a notch."

Palmer also was quick to add that the home court advantage, though nice, has some drawbacks.

"The distractions are great - more so for us than a visiting team," Palmer said. "We told our team to keep in mind they are playing in the national championships and not their home floor."

NJCAA Tournament




* Today's Games:

Owens vs. Mercer Co., 10

N. Central Missouri vs. Mesa, 12

Kirkwood vs. NW-Shoals, 2

Haskell vs. Kankakee, 4

Mott vs. HCC, 6:30

Ill. Central vs. Monroe, 8:30

* Wednesday Scores:

NW Shoals 106, Owens 71

Kankakee 73, Mercer 47

Mott 71, N. Central Mo. 52

Ill. Central 81, Mesa 69

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